Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body's response to an infection. The body normally releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight an infection. Sepsis occurs when the body's response to these chemicals is out of balance, triggering changes that can damage multiple organ systems.
If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically. This may lead to death.
Sepsis is caused by infection and can happen to anyone. Sepsis is most common and most dangerous in:
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 1
- People who have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, kidney or lung disease, or cancer
- People who have weakened immune systems
- Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.